A simple guide to the 5s system | EEF

A simple guide to the 5s system

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Are you looking to improve your organisation’s productivity in the New Year? Now is a good time to start planning how to implement and sustain key principles of Lean to give your company a productivity boost in 2016. Read EEF’s simple guide to the 5S methodology.

Building and maintaining a well-balanced and productive workforce is a key aim for managers in almost any business, and the New Year affords a great opportunity to audit previous productivity goals and implement better strategies.

5S is a productivity system that has been designed to develop and perfect products and services, with a process that aims to reduce waste and increase productivity by creating an orderly and organised workplace.  This all allows for individual members of a company’s workforce to perform more efficiently.

The 5S system uses the pillars of “Sort”, “Set in Order”, “Shine”, “Standardise” and “Sustain” to create an organised, orderly and productive work environment.



Clean up and clear out - Clear our clutter from the workplace and focus only on the things that are needed for efficient working operations. 


Arrange items and create orderliness - Efficient and effective storage methods and systems mean that the right tool is always in the right place and easy for everyone to find.


Cleanliness follows orderliness - With the clutter gone and everything put in the right place, give work areas a good clean and make sure cleaning happens daily.  Clean environments highlight equipment problems more quickly.


Consistency is key - Identify best practice and roll it out across the company.  Standardisation makes the first three pillars of 5S much easier to maintain.


Changes become habits - Make maintaining best practices a habit, not a one-off.  Sustain is the most important of the 5S’s and focuses on changing the status quo, not just making quick changes.

EEF offers a range of Lean training courses. To find out more about 5s, the Introduction to 5s and 5c awareness course provides all of the information that you will need to begin to implement this business improvement system.


This person has now left EEF. Please contact us on 0808 168 1874 or email us at enquiries@eef.org.uk if you have any questions.

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